The Breeders’ Cup is the Super Bowl of horse racing. At least it is for me. All the hard work trying to handicap two days of the best of the best.
I will be part of the annual Breeders’ Cup Seminar this Thursday (6 p.m.) at Palace Station with Ralph Siraco and Vic Vivio. We all hope you make it, but here’s a free sampling of how I think things will go down at Santa Anita.
2012 Breeders’ Cup Friday, Nov. 2
$500,000 Juvenile Sprint (6 Furlongs)
Beholder has the highest Beyer rating – 108 – of any 2-year-old this year. This filly is very fast and has home field advantage. Sweet Shirley Mae looks very sneaky in here from off the pace if the race isn’t over before she can make her late run. Kauai Katie will look to stay undefeated for trainer Todd Pletcher and fall right into a stalking position.
$1 Million Juvenile Fillies Turf (1 Mile)
Trainer Chad Brown sends out Watsdachances, winner of both her U.S. starts. Her only drawback will be the hard turf course at Santa Anita. Pletcher, who is loaded, sends out Tara From The Cape who will be in a good stalking position. Spring Venture has won all three of her starts in Canada and is two for two on grass. Richard Mandella, who usually takes his time with young horses, has Moulin de Mougin entered here off the maiden win in her second start. If she runs, we will use her as our long shot.
$500,000 Marathon (1-3/4 Miles)
This one is a puzzler. Eldaafer is an old pro who has raced 40 times. Fame and Glory is in from over the pond for Aidan O’Brien. This 6-year-old has won 14 of his 25 starts. Romp looks to offer some value as a price play.
$2 Million Juvenile Fillies (1-1/16 Miles)
Executiveprivilege has a lot going for her like Baffert, being undefeated in all five West Coast starts, a big work over the track and a top jock. The only thing she will not is a price, but for those who want to take a shot and single, she could be the one. Kauai Katie is Pletcher’s undefeated filly who will try and get the jump on the chalk with the house quinella players loading up on these two. Pletcher also sends out the undefeated Dreaming of Julia who also has big early speed. The long shot could be Renee’s Queen off back-to-back turf routes.
$2 Million Filly & Mare Turf (1-1/4 Miles)
Lady of Shamrock has home field advantage. She is three for three on this turf course and has a great 7 furlong work. Marketing Mix is a 4-year-old very consistent filly who won in her only start here at this 1¼ mile distance. The best price between the two is the play. Stormy Lucy has run behind both and will be making a late push. Nereid ran right behind Marketing Mix last time out – a great prep for his first start in the U.S., and could be the price play in the race.
$2 Million Ladies’ Classic (1-1/8 Miles)
Awesome Feather is a perfect 10-0. A classic horse that only needs to handle this course to win. If Royal Delta runs she could be a repeat winner of this race, having won last year. Mott also has her entered in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday. Pletcher sends out the improving Love And Pride, who also comes off my Horses to Watch list from her nice win here. The long shot will be Include Me Out who has won six of her 12 starts with three wins at Santa Anita.
2012 Breeders’ Cup Saturday, Nov. 3
$1 Million Juvenile Turf (1 Mile)
Balance The Books has done little wrong in his three starts and deserves my top billing. Joha has big early speed and will try to get the jump on them. He just did get beat on the line by Balance The Books one race back. Noble Tune is the stablemate of Balance The Books and has won both of his turf starts, including the Grade 3 Pilgrim last time out under a late hand ride by jockey Ramon Dominguez. The price play will be Rising Legend in from over the pond for trainer John Sadler.
$1 Million Filly & Mare Sprint (7 Furlongs)
Musical Romance is one tough 5-year-old mare with 40 starts. Groupie Doll is the filly to beat as she looks for her fifth straight win all in graded stake races. Contested looks to be back in top form off her Grade 1 win in the Test at Saratoga and Baffert appears to have her sitting on go. The price play is John Sadler’s Switch, a real tough 5-year-old mare who will be making a big late run.
$1 Million Dirt Mile (1 Mile)
Baffert sends out Fed Biz who may just be a good price in this tough field. Shackleford will be right on the pace with the Biz. Rail Trip has won three of four starts here and will also be part of the early pace. The price play will be the Steve Asmussen trained Tapizar who gets back to a fast track barring any rain.
$1 Million Turf Sprint (6½ Furlongs)
Going downhill at 6½ furlongs, this is a very tough course if you never ran on it. California Flag has won five of his seven starts going down the hill at Santa Anita. Unbridled’s Note won in his only try here going down the hill last time out. Starspangledbanner is in from France for Aiden O’Brien and may offer a good price.
$2 Million Juvenile (1-1/16 Miles)
Shanghai Bobby has won all four of his starts for Todd Pletcher and showed he can rate in his last win. Power Broker is improving for Baffert, has the advantage of a win on the track and looks set for a huge effort. Fortify has run behind Bobby the last two times and will look to upset. He’s Had Enough, the Doug O’Neil colt with big Kentucky Derby aspirations, just may be this good. The price will be my longshot special.
$3 Million Turf (1½ Mile)
Slim Shadey has the home field advantage with three wins in five starts and will get a nice price. Bourbon Bay was my second choice, but has since been scratched. Point Of Entry is in from the Big Apple and looking for his sixth straight win and fourth Grade 1 victory in a row. He’s four for four at this distance and the one to beat. The price play is the O’Brien invader St Nicholas Abbey who will try to repeat his win from last year.
$1.5 Million Sprint (6 Furlongs)
Amazombie won this race by a neck last year at Churchill Downs and had his prep. Coil beat the Zombie last time out. Capital Account was second by a head in the race here Oct. 6. Jimmy Creed was a close third in the race and the price play.
$2 Million Mile
Wise Dan has become a monster and the one to beat. Obviously will be out on the front end and with Little Mike will set a hot pace. Mr. Commons, never off the board at Santa Anita in six starts, looks set for his best from off the pace. Trailblazer came in from Japan to get a race, running second by a half-length to Obviously last time out. That race will have him set for a huge run. He will be in hot pursuit stalking the pace and a very good bet if the price is right.
$5 Million Classic (1-1/4-Mile)
Horses for courses is Game on Dude, who has won all five starts here as he looks for redemption from a half-length loss in last year’s Classic, If Royal Delta runs she is a must use. Mott will also have Flat Out going. One tough customer.
Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper. Contact Richard at [email protected].